Friday, May 11, 2012


This a favorite drawing from Cyra R Cancel

Look at that smile!

My guest today is romance author, Dee Davis. She writes the series called A-Tac and Deadly Dance is the latest release and featured in Cosmo as a HOT READ FOR MAY. Dee is a full time writer juggling family and writing and has been published since 1998. Some of her hobbies are cooking, traveling, finding new restaurants, and exploring Manhattan. As for writing, she says the hardest part of the story is the middle and by that time she just wants to blow everything up and "have done with it."

Today Dee talks about using animals in her writing.

Animals play all kinds of roles in novels.  From lead characters, like Old Yeller or Black Beauty, to antagonists like the whale in Moby Dick or giant squid in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.   They can guide the protagonist like the unicorn in A Swiftly Tilting Planet or Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Sometimes they’re used to establish the character of their master, like Hagrid’s dog Fang in the Harry Potter books.   And sometimes they simply have a cameo—as in Asha, the cat featured in my latest book, Deadly Dance.

But like most characters, they often start out to be one thing and wind up being something else altogether.  Initially, I intended for Asha to have only a bit part, appearing in a video that Harrison Blake and Hannah Marshall discover.   But once I’d met him, I really liked the little guy and wanted to make sure he was taken care of.  So he wound up not only getting two additional scenes, but having his own happy ending. 

Over the years, I’ve had the chance to feature several animals in my novels.  A dog named Mac, a horse named Jack, and another dog, a westie, named Bentley to name a few.  And each of them developed their own personality as their role in each story grew.   Of course, I do have animals of my own.  A cardigan welsh corgi and a tuxedo cat.  And both of them like to hang out (at my feet and in my lap, respectively) as I write.  So I suppose it’s no wonder that animals often make their way onto the pages of my books.

I suspect that Asha will not be the last.  But he is certainly the first to have helped solve a crime.

  • How about you?  Do you pets play interesting roles in your life?  In others lives?  Got a great pet story to share?  Spill!



Available in bookstores or online now 

As the intelligence officer for A-Tac, a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty, Hannah Marshall is used to working behind the scenes. But when a brutal murder hits too close to home, Hannah finds herself in the middle of the action, falling in love while racing to outwit a sadistic mastermind. 


After the death of her A-Tac partner, Hannah doubts everything she thought she knew about love and loyalty. When handsome Harrison Blake joins the team, she's reluctant to trust him - or to act on her intense attraction to him. Then Hannah receives a podcast of a gruesome murder, and the only person who can help her find the killer is Harrison.

Harrison has spent years trying to hunt down the cunning monster who killed his sister. Now investigating with Hannah, he faces a shocking possibility - his sister's murderer has resurfaced. As the danger escalates, Hannah and Harrison grow closer; the desire simmering between them ignites. And when Hannah disappears, Harrison has only one chance to save the woman he loves
. Excerpt


---when not at the computer writing, award winning author Dee Davis likes to explore Manhattan with her husband and dog.  Check out her newest romantic suspense, Deadly Dance, book five in her A-Tac series. Available now. FacebookTwitter

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This year, 2012, has been a period of reflection for me. Taking stock. Looking at what I’ve accomplished and what I still want to achieve. Revisiting and revising my goals. I’m not sure if this reflection is the result of losing a dear brother, days shy of his fortieth birthday and seeing what it did to my family. Perhaps it’s seeing my son finish high school and knowing a chapter is closing and another beginning. Maybe it was because I almost died. Any or all of them, most likely. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about past, present, and future.

In case you were wondering, Manu Forti is my clan motto. My father’s family also had a coat of arms and motto, Non Sans Cause.  That motto dates back, according to the family tree passed down through the generations, to the 13th century, with the Lord of Prideaux (he was one of the knights that came over with William the conqueror) and was awarded lands in Cornwall. Many of his descendents settled in the Devonshire, England. My paternal, many times great, grandfather, Walter Geere, married a daughter from the house of Prideaux (late 1400’s).

A Family tree chart
I mention this because both sides of my paternal family have some pretty tough mottos and have had some tough and strong people living them. My mother’s family have never been slouches when it came to stick-to-it thinking. They were real rebel rousers, literally, in the 1700’s in this country. Not particularly liked by the crown during the revolution. But they fought for what they believed in and very much a part of making this country free and independent. Two went on to be presidents—a father and son duo. Hey, we predated the Bush family by several generations, lol!

As a family, we’re not the type to give up easily. I’ve been taught that all my life. Determine a course of action, set your goals and do it. Be willing fight for what you believe in, what is important to you, and don’t give up. Strategic retreats are okay, but only for regrouping.

These mottos and all the stories surrounding them were the backbone beliefs that went into our immediate family. And there were lots of stories told of bravery, courage of convictions, and deeds of valor. One of these days I’d like to write some of those stories. Or use what I know as a basis for stories I want to tell. There were definitely heroes and villains and a good measure of happy ever after.

It didn’t matter what it was, we were taught to fight for what we wanted and stand for what was right. If you can envision it you will find a way to make it so. But we were also taught another lesson. Don’t just look out for your self but pay forward. Give a helping hand where you can, not for the accolades and praise, but because it is the right thing to do. Don’t ever compromise your principles.  I call that honor and having principles. 

Those principles and mottos worked well for my career, finally having a child, building a life I wanted, more or less. I can definitely apply that to writing as well as other pursuits. Yes, I’ve retreated more than once and there’s no dishonor in that. I set up strategy, made plans and regrouped—always with the plan of moving forward. I’ve maintained a sense on honor, chosen the right path based on principles. I’m teaching my son to do the same.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Use your experiences of the Past, in the experiments of the Present
To achieve your expectations for the Future. 
Personal goals work that way too. You have a goal and you created reasonable steps to accomplish that goal. Don’t give up when the going gets tough—and it always gets tough at some point. Retreat if you have to. Regroup, employ strategy, and move forward.

Conclusions? I like knowing my past. It determines my present, which determines my future. I’m not in control of my past or my future. I have a measure of control over the choices I make for this day. They are only small steps towards the future. But I know, the best things in life; be they large or small, are worth fighting for. 

Giving up is not an option.


Monday, May 7, 2012


FYI. As Alex Cavanaugh mentioned: several sites were hit with malware warnings this past weekend. Some of us, because we were link to those sites, have also received warning flags—even after removing the links. Over Coffee is absolutely clean from all malware.  


This was the second challenge I followed and while I didn’t participate officially, I did put up articles that corresponded to the letters when I could. I tweeted and Facebook articles where I could and visited as many blogs as I could. I met so many new people, read so many interesting articles and commented on them. There are so many fascinating people blogging these days.

What I noticed more this year was the camaraderie between most of the bloggers. That was cool. I also noticed this year, many had particular themes that were interesting to read. An enormous amount of work went into blogging everyday and making the articles interesting. I loved the humor. Face it, blogging every day, visiting blogs everyday is exhausting and many of the blogs I visited humorously alluded to scraping the barrel for both energy and creativity to put those articles up. Daily.

I loved the separate A-Z blog site. This year it was so much easier to follow the participants. The co-hosts worked together both in supporting the contributors and providing encouragement and help along the way. This on top of contributing their own articles.

Round of applause on a job well done host team!

I had people ask, what’s the purpose of such a challenge. It’s too much, too time consuming, and time that could be used for other things, like writing.

Here are my thoughts on doing blog challenges: 

  • Creativity and presentation isn't limited to writing fiction. The whole purpose of writing blogs is the desire to share something with others. Whatever your something is, you have to capture and keep your readers’ attention.

Think of the teacher who has certain points students have to know. The teacher can make it fun and engage the class or just present the facts—cut and dried. Boom. They’ve done their job and probably lost half of the class to daydreams. There is a seminar you have to attend for work. Certain facts have to be relayed. You can make it interesting or a boring monologue. It’s up to you.

It’s all in the presentation.

So challenges like A-Z sharpen those skills. Challenges teach you to think outside the box about subjects that may or may not interest everyone.  It stretches you. If you think about it, you can make just about any subject interesting to your readers by knowing your audience and streamlining the subject matter to meet and capture the majority of that audience. Again presentation and playing to your strengths to get your thoughts across to that audience.

  • The other lesson that comes from such challenges is disciplinefor writers. You have a deadline. To meet it you have to write every day or regularly and you have to juggle life with that writing. Thought has to be given to what and how you’re going to write. It takes discipline to sit your butt in the chair and get it done.

  • The third lesson that comes from such a challenge is learning how to promote you and your writing or blog. Promotion isn't always comfortable, is it? Regardless of whether we are introverted or extroverted, promotion is a necessary task. The challenge allowed each participant to strengthen those skills. Helped all to see we can promote and make connections. Making those connections weren't as difficult as many thought. Connections, networking, cyber friends.  All good things, and you learned could be yourself and accomplish good promotion for your name, your blog, and your writing.  You didn't have to be anyone but you.

As Frank Sinatra sings, “I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way. Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.”